FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

China Kowtow

President Obama has been under media fire for kowtowing to China on his visit there, specifically for not publicly mentioning the host country’s human rights record. No wonder! Hypocrisy is the favored tool in foreign policy diplomacy, and here the President failed to utilize it. He gave it a day off.

It’s possible that some of Washington’s managers take the idea of U.S. moral superiority seriously, a recurring symptom of myth overdose. It’s also possible that the merchants of official state information take it seriously, for the same reason. Even the man on the street is not immune to its pervasive reach.

But a moment’s thought should suffice in ridding ourselves of this notion of U.S. moral superiority. People are basically the same wherever you go. People are not states. States rule over people. States are amoral. States propagandize their people.

Here’s a U.S. propaganda theme with its desired result, illustrating that when used artfully, propaganda goes unrecognized:

Question: Can the U.S. be a pariah nation?

Answer: Only those that resist the U.S. can become pariahs.

It’s only with a blind eye that policymakers and media enablers can trumpet our democracy and moral uniqueness. Thus the criticism of Obama, allowing for an eye that is not blind, is that he has failed to display the customary degree of hypocrisy – call it a dearth of hypocrisy – in dealing with the Chinese.

Behind our democratic facade lies a capitalist dictatorship, devoid of morality. The manager of this capitalist dictatorship is the Republican/Democratic Party, essentially one party in that they both represent the economic interests of big business. Through the hands of either its Republican or Democratic faction, big business is always in complete control of state power. The party apparat is beyond the reach of ordinary citizens, yet it controls all citizens and is not beholden to them other than the ritualistic and periodic seeking of their “approval” at the voting booth.

The citizen (particularly if well educated) looks upon the state, in something closely akin to superstition, as the only entity capable of providing for the common good. Through generations, this long teaching permeates the public consciousness until we willingly place the state, and its political managers, above ourselves. This we do in spite of the fact that the two political factions that alternately take possession of state power have long been, and remain, inherently corrupt.

Oddly, the inherent corruption of political managers is not a subject of controversy. It is readily accepted by the common man. Politics is more popularly regarded as a business, rather than a profession, putting it a level beneath prostitution (Eliot Spitzer’s experience notwithstanding).

The crisis is not one of misunderstanding on the part of the citizen. It is a crisis of impotence. As a remedy all the Republican/Democratic Party can offer is the ballot box, this after controlling the entire election pageant down to the debating commission itself. The continued impotence of the citizen is paramount to the keepers of the status quo, whereby power rests in the hands of the permanent few over the obedient many.

This system will not change itself. Short of a military defeat by a foreign power, or an internal revolution, control will not be wrested from these party interests. There is, however, a modest proposal that will mitigate the unbalanced power that the politician has over the people. A single term limit – one – of suitable length for all offices. The term “reelection” to disappear from our jargon. This will, simultaneously, free up and devalue the politician.

This could come about through a national referendum (We don’t have many of these, do we?). Don’t expect a politician near you to initiate it.

You might think, in a country that huffs and puffs about being a beacon for democracy, that all citizens would be consulted about important decisions (And what national decisions are unimportant?).

There is an argument against this. That it is too unwieldy and time-consuming, and that the public is ill-equipped to make such decisions.

There is a counter-argument to this. Secrecy serves the powerful and the hidden agenda. In a true democracy, it is the job of the state to fully inform its citizens, trust them, and allow them to control their own destinies.

JAMES ROTHENBERG can be reached at: jrothenberg@taconic.net

More articles by:

James Rothenberg can be reached at: jrothenberg3@gmail.com.

Weekend Edition
March 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
The Ghost of Fascism in the Post-Truth Era
Gabriel Rockhill
Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests
H. Bruce Franklin
Trump vs. McCain: an American Horror Story
Paul Street
A Pox on the Houses of Trump and McCain, Huxleyan Media, and the Myth of “The Vietnam War”
Andrew Levine
Why Not Impeach?
Bruce E. Levine
Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream
Charles Pierson
Rick Perry, the Saudis and a Dangerous Nuclear Deal
Moshe Adler
American Workers Should Want to Transfer Technology to China
David Rosen
Trafficking or Commercial Sex? What Recent Exposés Reveal
Nick Pemberton
The Real Parallels Between Donald Trump and George Orwell
Binoy Kampmark
Reading Manifestos: Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Expensive Anniversaries
Ron Jacobs
Donald Cox: Tale of a Panther
Joseph Grosso
New York’s Hudson Yards: The Revanchist City Lives On
REZA FIYOUZAT
Is It Really So Shocking?
Bob Lord
There’s Plenty of Wealth to Go Around, But It Doesn’t
John W. Whitehead
The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Family Dogs
Jeff Cohen
Let’s Not Restore or Mythologize Obama 
Christy Rodgers
Achieving Escape Velocity
Monika Zgustova
The Masculinity of the Future
Jessicah Pierre
The Real College Admissions Scandal
Peter Mayo
US Higher Education Influence Takes a Different Turn
Martha Rosenberg
New Study Confirms That Eggs are a Stroke in a Shell
Ted Rall
The Greatest Projects I Never Mad
George Wuerthner
Saving the Big Wild: Why Aren’t More Conservationists Supporting NREPA?
Norman Solomon
Reinventing Beto: How a GOP Accessory Became a Top Democratic Contender for President
Ralph Nader
Greedy Boeing’s Avoidable Design and Software Time Bombs
Tracey L. Rogers
White Supremacy is a Global Threat
Nyla Ali Khan
Intersectionalities of Gender and Politics in Indian-Administered Kashmir
Karen J. Greenberg
Citizenship in the Age of Trump: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Jill Richardson
Getting It Right on What Stuff Costs
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Puddle Jumping in New Britain
Matt Johnson
The Rich Are No Smarter Than You
Julian Vigo
College Scams and the Ills of Capitalist-Driven Education
Brian Wakamo
It’s March Madness, Unionize the NCAA!
Beth Porter
Paper Receipts Could be the Next Plastic Straws
Christopher Brauchli
Eric the Heartbroken
Louis Proyect
Rebuilding a Revolutionary Left in the USA
Sarah Piepenburg
Small Businesses Like Mine Need Paid Family and Medical Leave
Robert Koehler
Putting Our Better Angels to Work
Peter A. Coclanis
The Gray Lady is Increasingly Tone-Deaf
David Yearsley
Bach-A-Doodle-Doo
Elliot Sperber
Aunt Anna’s Antenna
March 21, 2019
Daniel Warner
And Now Algeria
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail